Getting to know the best mobile payment apps

Mobile banking is currently used by millions of Australians each and every day, with no signs of its utilisation looking to slow down. Unsurprisingly, the Big Four have become the go-to for a majority of mobile users across the country, but there are some lesser known players worth keeping an eye out for…

Apple vs. Samsung Pay

The world’s two biggest smartphone brands, Apple and Samsung, have their own payment applications—Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Both companies have managed to secure a seamless experience between mobile usage and banking, bringing loyal users yet another reason to stick to these brands’ devices:

Samsung Pay:

This app is compatible with higher-end Samsung handsets from the Note 5 upwards. There’s also the cool feature that lets you pay via your compatible wearable device, like a Samsung Gear, if you happen to forget your phone or wallet. This nifty function uses NFC technology through specialised terminals, allowing users to make payments anytime, anywhere—and all without having their actual card, cash or phone on them.

Security is an ever-present issue in the finance sector but Samsung has it covered with an iris scan, fingerprint and pin authentication all built-into their Knox verification system. It doesn’t link to a bank account and will need a credit card to activate, but there is the option of Samsung loyalty cards, which are basically debit cards you can load cash onto.

Apple Pay:

Apple always challenge the norm and their new mobile payment feature is no exception, enabling payments within apps and through their browser, Safari. To optimise security, the platform also comes with its familiar Touch ID feature, allowing users access only after a fingerprint has been provided.

Like Samsung Pay, it doesn’t yet link directly to a bank account but it’s contactless and has Apple Watch functionalities.

Better yet, Apple Pay’s security features ensure that your card details are never stored in the app or given to vendors, and neither is your transaction history kept.

The continuity feature which links between tablets, Macs and smartphones under the Apple umbrella is always an enticing notion, especially when it means you can load your wallet onto one Apple ID and never lose sight of your spending.

Cash by Optus

Exclusively for Optus mobile customers, this app lets you load $500 from a linked bank account onto the platform. Customers order an ‘accessory’ in the form of a paytag, pay band, eco-friendly cup, or mobile sticker for the back of any smartphone. These accessories are then used as the payment method once linked with the app.

However, some may consider security an issue with this app, as it most likely runs congruent to the Optus servers which can, just like any telecommunications company, crash or become overloaded. Not to mention, if there is trouble with the app, it links through the same support line provided for Optus home, mobile and internet customers.

The Big Four

All of the options provided by the Big Four feature one unparalleled advantage: they directly link to a bank account of choice.

CommBank: This app features positives in that it is contactless through Samsung NFC or the iPhone, but it does require a payment tag that checks in at $2.99 for the user to obtain. There is a 100% security guarantee, however, that promises Commonwealth Bank will cover any unauthorised transactions.

ANZ Mobile Pay: Only compatible with Android devices, ANZ has already excluded more than half the market. Using the NFC, one of the only benefits is that you can withdraw money wirelessly from an ATM.

NAB Tap and Pay: Similar to CommBank, NAB charges a $3.99 fee for a paytag for any iPhone user wanting to download their app. It’s one of the better banking platforms, however, that withdraws directly from the everyday access account. With the ability to purchase through applications, it does rank reasonably well. It’s also equipped with NABDefence—a fraud protection mechanism that monitors your bank account using encryption technology. For extra peace of mind, NAB will also reimburse 100% of any money lost to fraud.

Westpac: Another option for Australian consumers, but one that only has Samsung compatibility.

In summary, it’s hard to look past the Big Four applications for their ability to link straight to everyday Aussie bank accounts. That said, Apple Pay is a close second, thanks to its dominance in the current market and universal connectivity to the brand’s devices.

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